Former IT professional, Jannes, had considered the idea of a pet care franchise for several years. His love for dogs led him to dog walking and sitting for friends, and through word of mouth he acquired quite a few customers! Turning his walks into a scalable business was the logical next step, and when he found We Love Pets, it was a match made in heaven.
Why did you choose a franchise over setting up your own business?
About 5 years ago I looked into buying a franchise with a different pet care company, but I couldn’t afford it at the time. Since then I’ve done a combination of website development and independent dog walking, all the while trying to find some sort of business to get into and with the franchise idea at the back of my mind. Then when the opportunity to join We Love Pets came up, the timing was right and it all came together perfectly.
Why did you choose WLP?
Initially I looked back at the other pet care franchise I had thought about years ago, but I discovered that they hadn’t grown at all, seemingly, in that time. But when I did research and found We Love Pets, I was impressed with the size of their network, the support it offers, and the vision for continued expansion. And through speaking to Ryan and some of the head office staff, I feel reassured by the fact that they really know what they’re doing – this has been such an uplifting experience for me.
Did you look at any other franchises?
Only the one that I had been interested in previously.
What did the word ‘franchise’ mean to you before you came across We Love Pets?
To me, it meant that you kind of buy your own, but under an established brand that has prepared a foundation for your success. Obviously, there are different sectors – food, services, etc. – and it allows you to handle the immediate day to day business and build a team of staff, but as part of a larger organisation.
What was your day to day like in your previous role?
Well, I was an IT professional for 32 years, and then semi-retired but still wanted to do something, which is when I re-trained myself in website development. Then, a few years ago I was asked to dog sit for a friend and by word of mouth I started sitting and walking for a handful of other people, which is how I ended up dog walking. So, my day to day was a combination of dog walks with website building in between.
What was the final straw for leaving your previous job?
There wasn’t any one final straw, but a handful of things that, in tandem, helped me realise I needed to start something new. I have always loved and had dogs of my own but had been living in a flat that didn’t allow me to keep pets. Then, a year ago, I decided “that’s it – I want to get a dog again,” so I moved and was able to adopt Cash. This coincided with the onset of lockdown measures which kept people at home, and they were then able to walk their own dogs again, so I saw a decline in my dog walking business. Somewhere in between I happened across a dog walker and boarder advertisement for the neighbouring We Love Pets Brentwood branch, and after speaking with Shirley it set the ball rolling for me to pursue the franchise.
Do you have any pets of your own?
Yes, I have a border collie, called Cash, that was rehomed from a Welsh sheep farm. I actually went all the way to Wales to get him, and when he came home with me, he was quite nervous, but he’s come on leaps and bounds in our year together – now his recall is absolutely perfect.
What do you love most about your area?
I’m fortunate that my area has such a variety of nice places to walk and explore. I’m close to woodlands with the most beautiful trees, and a path that goes to a lovely pond that Cash and I love. Plus, there’s always a new route to discover!
What have you done in the past that you think will help you in your new venture?
I’m fairly good with social media, and familiar with using multiple platforms, so I imagine that will be beneficial. I also know quite a bit about marketing, that I intend to implement in my branch. My experience in web development has taught me the importance of SEO and how to use it effectively.
What hobbies do you have?
It’s pretty obvious, but I love dogs: walking them, having them around, just anything to do with them! I also really enjoy playing the guitar and singing, especially in worship at the church I attend.
What’s an interesting/fun fact about yourself?
I’m a big, strappy guy, but I love art. There’s a South African artist whose work I collect and especially like. She paints really colourful scenes that feature dogs, cats and people. I’m also crazy about rugby, cricket, and used to play competitive squash.
Which are your favourite animals?
Dogs, 100%, by a country mile.
What’s your biggest achievement in life?
I’m originally from South Africa and growing up, the country was isolated with economic sanctions mandated by the government, which meant I never had the opportunity to travel outside of South Africa. Then, after going from a career in electrical engineering, to teaching maths at a technical school, I was about to start a different teaching position when I took an aptitude test and was offered a job as a programmer – which was the beginning of my 32 years in IT. Through that job, I was selected as the company IT representative for South Africa, and it allowed me to travel all over the world, and eventually move my family to the UK with indefinite leave to remain. Providing my family with the chance to get out and experience the world in full is definitely my biggest achievement.
What do you think will be the best part of your job as a We Love Pets franchisee owner and what are you most looking forward to?
I’m most looking forward to doing what I love most: working with animals each day and growing a business that I’m passionate about, especially with a team of likeminded people.